Richmond, BC, Canada, May 29, 2007
During the past few weeks, a number
of high profile issues affecting the Indo-Canadian community have
been a major topic of discussion .. The revelations at the on-going
Air India Inquiry have been quite an eye opener. Every day, something
new and startling comes out of this probe headed by retired Supreme
Court of Canada justice John Major.
So far this inquiry appears to underline
the incompetence/bungling by various agencies.
Unfortunately, it has been causing a lot of pain, agony and suffering
to the relatives and families of the victims of this tragedy.
For them, it is like an on-going nightmare that never seems to
end. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to these brave souls.
Then there is the on-going saga
of the injustice and unfairness that a number of Indo-Canadian
veterinarians have been facing for quite sometime. It is very
unfortunate the way that these well-qualified professionals have
been treated. It is even more tragic that they are in conflict
with an organization that is supposed to look after their interest
and welfare. All of this makes it an important enough issue for
the provincial government to step in. A quick resolution will
be in the best interest of all concerned.
Lower Mainland’s taxi industry
has been much in the news lately. The provincial government is
planning to bring in a bill of rights for the passengers. There
is no doubt that a vast majority of taxi drivers are very conscientious,
hard working and honest people. As in every industry, profession
or business, there are a few individuals who may not be doing
as good a job as others. However, to put everyone in the same
category is not appropriate.
Dr. Raghbir Singh Bains covered
this issue very well in last week’s Link. As he has emphasized,
any new regulations/legislation should also take into consideration
the safety, welfare, concerns and input by the taxi operators.
Let’s keep in mind that the taxi drivers have to put up
with a lot of abuse, prejudice, frustration and anxiety almost
on a daily basis. Thus, the government needs to adopt a well-balanced
approach in this regard.
The tragic episode of Komagatamaru
is another extremely important issue for the entire community.
It has been going on for a long time now. To its credit, the Conservative
government has made an earnest effort in seeking the community’s
views in order to resolve this matter. The town hall meetings
held here and in Toronto as well as other consultations have provided
the government with a fairly good consensus about possible solution(s).
Of course, on top of the list is an apology by the federal government.
Also, the government should come up with adequate funding for
a suitable memorial. There have also been suggestions for the
development and implementation of suitable school curriculum relating
to this matter. In this context, Penny Priddy’s motion in
the House of Commons and Sea Lion’s purchase by the Komagatamaru
Heritage Foundation as well as the efforts by Prof. Mohan Singh
Foundation are commendable. It is about time for the federal government
to deal with this matter promptly.
It is a great credit to our community
that since its arrival in Canada more than hundred years ago,
Indo-Canadians have been trailblazing in many ways.
Indo-Canadians have achieved and
continue to occupy very high positions in nearly every aspect
of Canadian society and political structure. Among them, Kash
Heed is one such individual we can all be proud of. It has been
reported that Kash may be one of the applicants for the police
chief’s position in Vancouver. He deserves our best wishes.
Kash Heed is a very competent, accomplished and dedicated police
He is also a gifted teacher, an
innovator and a great role model. As police chief of the largest
city in the province, Heed will be a great credit not only to
VPD but also to the entire community and this province.
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist, Community
Activist and recipient of the Order Of British Columbia. He can
be reached at: